When we were young, we were taught the concept of heroes as those who needed to die for a worthy cause.

With technological advances and the evolution of social media, the twenty first century saw a paradigm shift of who and what a hero can be. The hero could be a real one or  pigment of one’s imagination depending on the platform he/she was generated from.

Creating positive changes in the lives of people we serve or the community we live in may spark the hero in you. The late Christopher Reeves had once said, that a hero is “an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.”

In this day and age of populist politics globally, there is a dire want for a hero to emerge from the rubbles. Deception, lies and propagandist agenda are eroding the very core of whatever values are left in many of us.  When people who have no moral compass lead the gullible, we end up being boxed in a situation where we are forced to reconcile with rationalising that wrong is right.  And that’s a bad thing because the only reason we begin to imbibe disinformation is when there are personal agenda and become indoctrinated at circumventing logic. 

Mark Manson, author of “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” has a new book entitled “Everything is F*cked: A Book About Hope” hits the mark when he points out:

Bravery is common. Resilience is common. But heroism has a philosophical component to it. There’s some great “Why?” that heroes bring to the table – some incredible cause or belief that goes unshaken, no matter what. And this is why, as a culture, we are so desperate for a hero today: not because things are necessarily so bad, but because we’ve lost the clear “Why?” that drove previous generations.

We are a culture in need not of peace or prosperity or new hood ornaments for our electric cars. We have all that. We are a culture in need of something far more precarious. We are a culture and a people in need of hope.

I would like to believe that the relative joy altruism brings, still sparks in each of us. In spite of all the noise that clutters a populist era, there are those who fight for an egalitarian society based on the principles of justice and truth. A culture of good should never be perturbed by a society that lacks accountability to its people.

Francois de la Rochefoucauld puts it correctly when he says that “there are heroes in evil as well as in good.”

The choice of evil versus good is ours to make. As our national hero Jose P. Rizal puts it bluntly, “there can be no tyrants where there are no slaves.”

The mendicants

I see her we everyday on my drive to work. She must be in her mid-20s now. I’ve seen her pregnant twice. Often times I’ve asked myself who takes care of her children. On several occasions, I see her getting off a jeepney in front of where she works. But rain or shine, she is at her work station. Tapping on my car window. Holding up an empty cup. Peering into tinted glass, until I make two quick taps, and she moves away and begins the same ritual in the next vehicle.

She is only one of several mendicants that beg along the village gates. And the streets of every town and city in this country. Metro Manila alone is home to over 1Million beggars.

For the record, I have nothing against beggars. As a matter of fact, seeing children asking for alms on a rainy day, all soaked and having to ply the streets for a morsel of bread is heart breaking enough.

And while I agree with concerned citizens that it is the role of the government to provide food, shelter, health care and education to its people, half the effort is on the people.

Growing up, we didn’t have much. My parents were young, innocent, idealistic and unemployed. The rest of my life story is history. We literally crawled out of the gutter. But I was never ashamed of our humble beginnings. That is the pride of my relative joy. But this is not about me. It’s about the challenges life throws our way. The lemons made into lemonade. The stale bread made into crumbs and used another day for our daily bread.

Life isn’t fair. No matter what life throws your way, no matter how unfair it may seem, refuse to play the victim. Refuse to be ruled by fear, pessimism and negativity. Refuse to quit.

The struggle is real in a world that is unfair. We need to realize that everything we do are based on choices we make. It’s not your parents, the economy, our government, the weather, our sex or an argument or age that is to blame. You and only you are responsible for every decision you make. Period.

How strange that resilience is the one factor that changes one’s compass in life.

While there is nothing wrong in begging for a meal, there are a million opportunities at improving our lives. Unfortunately, there are those who simply settle for mendicancy. Or stay unemployed hoping to have government provide cash support.

For example, I have many friends and family looking for good household help. I don’t understand why those on the streets refuse to being employed as household staff and earn a decent living. After all, this government has signed into law that all household help members should have equal rights and privileges in government mediated contributions like SSS and Philhealth! What better job opportunity than having free board and lodging, three meals a day, and a salary to top it all! If there are professionals willing to wash clothes, care for other people’s children or clean other people’s home in a land far beyond, leaving family and friends to become household help in other countries, I don’t understand why these street urchins refuse to get employed gainfully.

It is for reasons like this that I have little pity on mendicants. The woman I see on the street, day in and day out is there probably because she’s just plain lazy to get a job. Or she’s probably part of a syndicate that uses beggars to profit.

In life, there are consequences on the choices make. At the end of our lives, we are accountable at which one we feed. Whichever it is, we take responsibility because only we, can define our purpose.

I tap on the window of my car twice when she peers to look in. But I don’t look at her. I look straight ahead. She moves away. And I cannot help but glance at the side mirror and breath a small sigh of despair and wonder at whose emotions she would challenge next.


There are just days where kindness has no place in the universe.

Today was one of those days.

My mom had asked me to go to the supermarket, the nearest is Robinson’s Supermarket at Madison Galleries, in our neighborhood.

Every time I go to this supermarket, I need to remind the cashier for the senior citizen/PWD lane, that the lane is a priority for them. It’s disappointing that both the supervisor and the other employees of the supermarket simply look the other way when there are people who are not seniors or have a disability queueing this lane and the senior citizens having to queue at other lanes.

I went up to the supervisor and loudly (yes emphasize on the loud), reminded him that it’s my nth time to remind them that:

(1) there is a sign that says that there is a priority lane for the seniors and disabled. They emblazoned that on the very large sign. Why can’t they follow it? Or is the cashier clearly an ignoramus?

(2) if they just put it up for compliance with DTI requirements, and they cannot follow the sign they put up to the letter, just take it out!

There were two young girls on the lane snickering and I told them that they’re either stupid, uneducated or blind! If you can’t read it, you don’t have a right to even flash a debit card to pay for your chips and Gatorade. Their parents ought to be ashamed of how they brought up these imps.

I write this to remind everyone that there are signs for a purpose. It’s not just because you’re in the Philippines or you live in an exclusive subdivision and pay with a debit card, you think you can make your brain cells melt and feel entitled. There is a reason for signs on the street, in the malls, on the walls, in the supermarket, in the toilet…it’s for you to read stupid! The signs are not suggestions! You don’t plan on following the signs then f*ck you! Don’t complain about the way the government is run when you can’t even discipline your own backyard.

There’s a jerk born every minute. And they come in various forms. But for the establishment not to follow what it preaches, well, I think there’s something very wrong with the hired help.

Sometimes there are just things that need to be said. Because often times, stupid people deserve that.

There are just too many morons in the universe these days.